LA Angels' rotation hopes take hit as No. 1 trade target reportedly off limits

Luis Castillo
Luis Castillo / Albert Cesare / The Enquirer via Imagn

The LA Angels' hopes at improving the starting rotation are mostly dashed at this point, due to their No. 1 trade target in Luis Castillo not being available anymore. MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman reported that the Cincinnati Reds are unlikely to move him now.

MLB Insider Jon Morosi had reported earlier in the offseason that the Angels were the frontrunners for arguably the best starting pitcher in the Big Leagues on the trade block in Castillo. Morosi had also reported that he could see the Halos trading for Castillo by giving up Brandon Marsh in a return package.

I love Marsh, but it would be worth it, as Castillo is a young guy the Angels would be able to have pitch at a high level for a long time. Castillo certainly is a high-level guy who'd have quite the impact on the Angels. He's pitched in this league for five years, recording a 3.72 ERA and 123 ERA+. He's struck out 9.8 batters per nine in his career.

The LA Angels will now have to shift their focus away from Luis Castillo.

The Reds have looked like they were interested in selling their biggest pieces this offseason, and got started on that. It's why a Luis Castillo trade began to really make a lot of sense, as they could go all out with the fire sale and receive great returns from him. The Angels certainly would be giving the Reds quite the return with Marsh plus even more value.

It was a good time to trade him as well in terms of his value. He's coming off of a 'down year,' but a down year for Castillo is still a good season. He recorded a 3.98 ERA last year and a 120 ERA+. Only allowing 0.9 home runs per nine innings, he struck out 9.2 batters per nine frames.

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Jim Bowden of CBS Sports and The Athletic had reported before the lockout that the Angels were "trying to trade for Luis Castillo." He also listed Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas as two players the Angels "had conversations with Oakland about." Bassitt is already gone to the Mets, so the focus on Montas should come to the forefront if the team is serious about improving starting pitching.